MERLIN, Ore — People training to do water rescues in the Rogue River early Tuesday morning, were unexpectedly thrown into a real-life situation.
Multiple agencies including the Bureau of Land Management, responded to the crash near Ennis Riffle County Park in Merlin just before 9:30 a.m. A male pilot and female passenger self-extricated from the plane uninjured and called for help.
“Cause of the crash was an engine failure,” Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel said. “They were just out here in this rural environment. There’s no where else to really put [the plane] down safely, so he chose the option he thought was best. Extremely fortunate ending to this incident.”
Sami Hawkins, surf water rescue instructor for Sierra Rescue, said training in the area of Ennis Riffle is rare for them.
“It was the perfect place, perfect time,” Hawkins said. “I honestly thought it was a jet boat at first and then I didn’t really pay attention. A parked truck came in and I heard them yell help.”
Daniel said the two people on board, climbed to the cockpit as they were awaiting help. Hawkins said her trainees did a great job jumping in to save them.
“It was definitely a highlight, to do a real-life rescue during rescue training.”
The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office said the plane is a 2002 Vans RVA single-engine plane. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board has been contacted for investigation purposes.